Video posted by the sanctuary showed the bird’s undying sense of devotion toward the rock – which he apparently mistook for an unhatched offspring and surrounded with a ‘simple’ nest, staffers said.
Murphy, an elderly bald eagle who went viral for mistakenly incubating a rock instead of an egg for weeks, was gifted an eaglet last week by staffers at Missouri’s World Bird Sanctuary
Video posted by the sanctuary showed the bird’s undying sense of devotion toward the rock – which he apparently mistook for an unhatched offspring and surrounded with a ‘simple’ nest
Almost immediately, Murphy’s adoration for the stone became apparent – with the mild mannered bird becoming ‘fussy’ and protective whenever approached.
It is not uncommon for male eagles to seek out objects to incubate during the spring mating season, as both male and females are tasked with protecting their nests.
Since capturing the hearts of millions, the bird’s steadfastness kept his keepers at bay – and made him the ‘obvious choice’ for a foster parent to the two-week-old injured eaglet brought into the sanctuary this month.
‘Murphy and his new charge are bonding beautifully,’ the sanctuary wrote in an update to social media posted Sunday after gifting Murphy the eaglet in the week.
An accompanying video showed Murphy – who for most of his life has been flightless due to a permanent wing injury – showing his new foster child how to eat.
‘If you watch carefully, you can see Murphy waiting for the baby to eat. When the baby doesn’t eat right away, he takes a bit of food, and then the baby begins to eat,’ staffers explained.
The stone Murphy mistook for an egg in March – leading keepers to tap him as a foster dad after being inspired by his fatherly sense of duty
The hatchling, which has yet to be named due to a longheld birdkeeping superstition, almost died in a storm last month, but is now doing well with his new dad, staffers said
‘This is the kind of bonding we’re looking for.’
The sanctuary proceeded to praise Murphy for ‘modeling eagle behavior perfectly,’ and also for ‘becoming a wonderful, gentle papa.’
But for weeks, the bird was not so gentle – with hormones often seen from his species during spring months spurring him to take to the stone.
‘It was an average rock,’ World Bird Sanctuary CEO Dawn Griffard said of the occurrence, which would soon evolve into a sage on social media.
‘It didn’t even look like an egg, but he insisted on incubating it.’